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Clearspring has been responsible for bringing the very best of Japan’s finest Organic Tamari Soya Sauce to customers around the world for over 25 years. Our Organic Yaemon Tamari Soya Sauce is especially unique and is one of the only Tamari Soya Sauces of its kind available in the world. Alongside being a firm favourite amongst our customers, its versatility and the richness of its flavour – it has a heritage and tradition which celebrates true artisan traditions and craftsmanship.

Since the market has become more saturated with brands launching Tamari or variations on soy sauces, we thought its only right that we tell you where your favourite Tamari comes from.

So what exactly is Yaemon?

Our signature ‘Organic Japanese Yaemon Tamari Double Strength’ was founded by the Aoki Yaemon family in 1871. The family has been making traditional Tamari for nearly 150 years in Aichi prefecture, Japan.
The craft of making our authentic Japanese Tamari involves handmade techniques, whole organic soybeans, Koji culture, water and sea salt. This tradition has been perfected and passed down from father to son for generations. The resultant Tamari is of a truly premium quality, whilst also being organic and gluten-free – all of which sets it apart from others. 

Yaemon Family

Photo: Right, Aoki Yoshio and his son, Yoshiyuki (6th generation Yaemon )

Why is the Clearspring Yaemon Tamari Soya Sauce special?

The key to the rich and velvety Yaemon Tamari is their time-honoured “Go-Bu Tamari” recipe, which dates back to the 13th century. The recipe uses a ratio of 10 parts whole soya bean to 5 parts water. This is double the strength compared to other tamari soy sauces. Producing Yaemon Tamari Soya Sauce requires skills that can only be learned over generations and are passed on from one Touji (brewmaster) to another. Yaemon Tamari is also one of the only remaining tamari soya sauces which are aged naturally in cedar wood kegs over two summers (around 18 -20 months).

What is Double-Strength Tamari soya sauce?

Unique to Yaemon Tamari, no one can produce this authentic 10 (soya) : 5 (water) ratio Tamari. The majority of Tamari available on the market today are 10 (soya) : 10/12 (water), making them single strength Tamari. The fermentation period is also shorter, and they are brewed for only 6-9 months. Hardly any are made using traditional brewing methods and most are produced outside of Japan.

It’s important to know that some non-organic Tamaris are made with chemically defatted soybeans and even some organic ones are made with cracked soya beans to speed up the production process.

The care and artisan craft of our Yaemon Tamari is self-evident not only on the colour difference of the finished Tamari, but also the depth and complexity of the Umami flavour it delivers.

How is Tamari made?

Tamari production usually starts in winter when the condition is ideal for making Koji. The process begins by soaking the whole soya beans in well water. It is then steamed until soft and crushed and made into small balls called ‘Miso Dama’. To start the Koji (Aspergillus spores) fermentation on the soya beans, a sprinkle of roasted barley flour is added to activate it. This is then dusted over the balls and placed in a temperature controlled room for 3 – 4 days. This is the most crucial time for a brewing master as this process will determine the quality of the Tamari. The master’s art is in the nurturing and overseeing of the Koji process to perfection.

The Koji and beans are then mixed with a brine solution (sea salt and water) and placed in a large cedar wood keg. This mash is called ‘Moromi’ and here the mixture will spend at least two summers to ferment.

After the long ageing process the Moromi is placed in cloth sacks and pressed to extract the dark liquid; raw Tamari. The soy oil from the liquid is removed and Mikawa Mirin is added to prevent further growth of the natural Koji yeast. The Mikawa Mirin contributes to the aroma and deep rich flavour of Tamari. It is then bottled and ready for use.

How should I use it?

Clearspring Organic Japanese Tamari Soya Sauce has an award-winning flavour that’s rich, full-bodied, complex and concentrated – but never overpowering. It’s perfect as a dipping sauce and as a traditional accompaniment to Japanese dishes. It can be used as a condiment to add a depth of savoury umami flavour to salad dressings, marinades, sauces, stir-fries and slow-cooked stews.

Is it really gluten-free?

A tiny portion of roasted barley flour is used in the process of making Clearspring Yaemon Organic Tamari Soya Sauce. Yet, when we carried out gluten testing, we found that the long fermentation and ageing processes that our Organic Tamari Soya Sauce undergoes eliminates the gluten proteins present in the barley. Following these results, the Coeliac Society decided to include Clearspring Yaemon Organic Tamari Soya Sauce in their gluten-free directory.

With thanks to Clearspring for this fascinating history and fact file on their delicious Yaemon Tamari Soya Sauce. You can read the original article here.